Skills every man should know

July 9, 2010

Hello, Car Country fans! Today we are bringing you a list of a few things that every man should know how to do with his car. We hope they come in handy…and if you can’t do them all, it’s okay. We won’t tell.

Patch a Radiator Hose

Duct tape really does fix everything. If you have steam escaping from your radiator hose, grab a roll of your favorite shiny tape and let’s get to work. First, wait for your engine to cool off! (Magically healing a burn is NOT on this list of things you should know how to do.) After the engine is cool, find the source of the steam (the rupture or the hole) and clean the area around it, because the tape won’t stick otherwise. Wrap two or three inches of duct tape around the hole, pressing firmly to make sure it sticks. Then overwrap the section again, spanning from two or three inches on one side of the hole to the same distance on the other, just to make sure. The hose is under a lot of pressure, so you want to make sure to use plenty of tape.

Before you crank the engine, check the radiator level. If it’s dangerously low and you don’t have any coolant, you can use water, or diet soda if it’s an emergency and that’s all you have.

Trailer Tricks

Here in Oklahoma, we see a lot of folks driving trucks with trailers. You will probably have to back the trailer up at some point, and you don’t want to look silly in front of your buddies. So what you need to do is put your left hand at six o’clock on the steering wheel, and drape your right hand over the back of the seat. Then as you back up, turn your hand on the steering wheel in the direction you want the trailer to go. Helpful hint: if your trailer is too low for you to see, tape brightly-colored flags to the corners.

Torque it up

Using a torque wrench the wrong way leads to incorrectly tightened fasteners, which can spell trouble for your machinery. To do it right, first screw the fasteners on by hand. Some are torqued dry, some lightly oiled–check your shop manual. Next, pick a wrench– a beam-type is less expensive, but the click-type can be easier to use. To use a beam wrench, first make sure it zeros; bend the pointer if necessary. Turn the wrench steadily, holding the plastic handle so it floats on the pivot to the beam to avoid influencing the readings with your hands. With a click wrench, twist the handle until you see the desired torque in the indicator window. Tighten the wrench until you feel the mechanism click, but no farther. With both wrenches, tighten all fasteners gradually, starting in the middle of the assembly and working in a widening spiral. Begin with one-third of the final torque; return to the first fastener and tighten all to two-thirds of the final torque. Repeat, in sequence, to the final torque.

Ooh, Oil!

You’ve got to change your oil every 3000 miles if you want your car to have any kind of life at all. You can easily take it to a quick-lube shop, but you can also do it yourself. (This will really impress the lady in your life.) Warm the engine to stir up any sediment in the crankcase, then raise the car on stands or ramps. Put a pan under the drain and re-move the plug; let it drain for 10 minutes. Remove the filter, and let it drain into the pan; make sure the O-ring comes off. Use your finger to coat the new filter’s O-ring with a little oil. If the angle of the new filter allows, prefill it with oil and screw it on. Tighten a three-quarter turn after the gasket touches. Reinstall the drain plug with a new crush washer or seal. Add all but the last quart of oil, start the engine and check for leaks. Turn off the car, let it sit for a few minutes, then check the oil level. Top off to the fill mark.

Don’t feel badly if you can’t do all of these things. But we hope these have helped you a little bit. And if you can already do all of these, then you have permission to gloat to your friends that can’t. Remember, www.carcountrycars.com is open 24/7 to browse online inventory at any of our three locations, and you can also fill out private online loan applications!

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